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MatManager - New standard in road construction efficiency

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MatManager (MatManager - New standard in road construction efficiency)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-06-30

Every year billions of euros are overspent on road construction and repaving due to over-use of asphalt material, re-paving due to poor road quality resulting from not adhering to best practices, and downtime of pavers and crew on account of lack of material- and logistics planning. The problem is that it is difficult to construct a road – it requires men and machinery working together in a non-stop process that should be subject to tight control and monitoring to maintain all parameters within their specifications. Today, there are no available tools to do this. Contractors rely entirely on the knowhow of their paver operations crew, who are becoming increasingly unskilled as the attractiveness of this job is declining, and no road quality measurements can be performed before after-the-fact, resulting in excessive repaving and lower durability.

The MatManager project aims to utilize modern technologies including digitialization and IOT to make available a tool for both contractors and road authorities for overcoming these obstacles. The MatManager project will enable contractors to perform instant and continuous quality measurements, and deliver real-time performance feedback to the operator as well as full accountability of paving performance to road authorities. The digital MatWiser platform provides a tool for creating benchmarks, and further analyzing performance for future improvements in material utilization, quality and process management.

This will help the road construction industry eliminate the massive overuse of finite resources – material, machinery and manpower – all of which are not only costly for society, but have a large climatic footprint on the entire globe.

The overall objective of the MatManager project is to finalize the development to bring it to TRL 9 and validate the new solution in a large-scale pilot to enable full commercialization.
Work performed on the project has been according to the work packages outlined in the project description, with the changes mentioned to the reported time plan and small switch around of activities.

An IR Camera has been developed and integrated into the system and all other hardware components have been made sales- and production ready with internal testing, certification and product labelling performed to comply with applicable regulation. Significant development has been conducted on the MatWiser platform to improve scalability and useability of the platform and enable large amounts of data streams as required, and new algorithm development has been performed to cover additional sensor input. Performance standards algorithms have been incorporated in a flexible manner to create custom benchmarks for various road authority criteria. New graphical front end userinterfaces have been developed Manuals and guides have been developed to improve usability.

The change in project time start-up compared to the original plan and seasonal requirements to the field trials, entailed field trials were split in two, with pre-trials before the ending of the paving season for the winter and full field trials postponed to late in the project period in early spring.

Pre-trials of a shorter duration were performed in the fall (October-November) with 3 selected partners in the Nordic countries. The pre-trials were a proven technical success and delivered a collection of learnings for securing operator engagement in future trials. In the pre-trials the overall performance of the system was tested and initial user feedback collected regarding field operation of the hardware and software capabilities in MatWiser at that point in time.

Results of the work so far have been continually disseminated in various local road-construction specific trade shows around the world throughout the project duration, promotional materials have been developed and distribution preparations have been made with several potential distributions partners.
With just over half of the project period completed, the efforts in the MatManager project so far has demonstrated the feasibility of the technical solution, which is beyond state-of-the-art as this goes far beyond what is available in the market. With proper usability, this hints huge societal wins in less material use and improved road quality and duration, although this correlation remained to be proven in the full-scale field trials planned for the spring.

However, the project has now been prematurely terminated due to TF-Technologies losing its SME status, when the company was acquired by a larger French conglomerate. Due to this untimely project termination, no further project results beyond those already described can be expected. Likewise, the socio-economic impact may be either limited or substantially delayed, as the project can not be expected to be completed due to its loss of funding.

Note: Website discontinued with project termination (due to lack of payment)